If you just started reading this blog, I would like to welcome you to my Fall practice reports. I have been writing reports for the past two years and like to think I know quite a bit about Georgia Tech football. I will be doing practice reports for the next couple of weeks until they become closed and off limits. I will try to give as much accurate information about the players and events as humanly possible (so I don't get yelled at by someone in the AA). Now that you kind of know what to expect from me, let's get started.
Today is the official start to Georgia Tech football 2009! It was pretty nice when I first got out to Rose Bowl Field, but it quickly heated up. All the players looked energized and ready to go. The players were wearing helmets and shorts.
1. There was only one player that was visibly not playing (beached). Kyle Jackson was standing in street clothes with a boot on. (NOTE: I'm telling everyone this since it has already been reported in the AJC that he was not going to practice; this will probably not be the case going forward with all injuries that occur during practice. I can really only report the number of individuals injured.) Roddy practiced in a yellow jersey with a cast on his arm. He did not participate in passing drills but did catch several pitches that were flung his way.
2. The team first started off with punt return practice. The whole group of punters looked pretty darn bad. I didn't see one punt over 35 yards! I couldn't really tell who was punting from where I was, but it looked like the rotated through the whole group and none of them looked even halfway decent. They had Stephen Hill in the group doing the returning along with the favorites, Roddy and Tarrant. I couldn't really tell if he looked good returning punts, since half the time the ball landed about 15 yards in front of him.
3. The QBs and centers worked on snaps together while the other players were doing the punt returns. I didn't see any fumbles right away on the center-to-QB exchange, which is always a good sign. David Sims and Jordan Luallen both looked impressive in size and build. Sims has a build very similar to Josh. Josh looked just like a beast, as usual. Jaybo, on the other hand, still seems to be way too small and skinny. He might have put on 10 pounds of muscle, but it is really hard to tell. He might have just reached his maximum size because I can't see him getting any bigger the next year or two. When they did get the entire offense to practice later, the freshmen QBs really showed their age. I saw Luallen fumble quite a bit and Sims didn't fair too much better. They looked a lot like Josh and Jaybo last year when they were first learning the offense.
4. I didn't see any real surprises in the depth chart today. The same players that were starting in the Spring, were starting today. One thing was very interesting though. Jemea Thomas was not on offense. Word was he was recruited as an A-back and would start off there. I personally thought and still think that Thomas is a perfect fit for the defensive backfield and needs to stay where he was today. I hope the coaches don't change their minds again and move him to the offensive side.
5. Some players have definitely slimmed down over the Summer. TJ Barnes is the best example. He is still probably too big to play every down, but he doesn't have that overhanging gut anymore. We really needed him to slim down to be able to play more snaps. I really hope he weighed in around 330 instead of the 353 he was in the Spring. Dwyer also has appeared to have lost some weight. I know he had a pretty good sized belly in the Spring, but now, he looks a lot like he did coming out of his freshmen year. He looks lean and mean. Some of the freshmen really surprised me when I first saw them out there. Drummond looks ready physically, along with JC Lanier and Julian Burnett. Those kids just look college ready.
6. I wasn't able to stay the whole time (I know, shame on me. I was dehydrated!), but I did see enough to tell where our offense was in terms of being ready. The offense did some one on one passing drills at the beginning of practice and everything looked fine. The freshmen QBs, Sims and Luallen, both had great touch on long passes and some beautiful spirals. Josh looked like he couldn't miss and Jaybo and Tevin both looked like they had improved over the Summer. Tevin, especially. Stephen Hill and Kevin Cone looked really good catching the ball. Hill is just so physical and fast. The offense then did some passing scrimmages with the defense about a 2/3 of the way through practice. Things quickly fell apart. I only saw a handful of completed pass, most for a short gain. I don't know if the coverage was all that great or if the QBs were simply off target. It looked like a mixture of both. Occasionally, the QBs would over through an open receiver or simply put it into the ground. This was much different than earlier in practice. I also noticed quite a bit of drops from the receivers and A-backs. I will just count the whole scrimmage as "knocking off the rust". Morgan Burnett was flying around in the secondary and the ball just somehow always gravitates toward him.
That is about all I can think of to write for today. My reports will get more in depth when the players start practicing in full pads and actually hit each other. They won't start wearing full pads until Friday. If you have any questions about the practices, feel free to ask me on this blog or on www.bbuzzoff.com.